5/23/23: Prima Facie
What: The Broadway transfer of the National Theatre production of Suzie Miller's one-woman play starring Jodie Comer, about a criminal defense barrister in the wake of her own sexual assault.
And? While it's a tour de force showcase for Comer, who is more than up for the challenge, I guess I'm a bit tired from seeing a nearly two-hour play of someone realizing something a lot of us have known for a very long time: the criminal justice system, whether in the UK or US, is built not to protect sexual assault victims and punish their attackers, but rather to do everything it can to discredit those victims and protect their attackers. We know this. I'm glad she figures it out too, but she had to figure it out by being assaulted herself. Her entire character development in this play is predicated on her being assaulted, which is a storytelling trope I am EXHAUSTED by. It makes me stop watching TV shows. It makes me avoid books written by men. This may have been well done but the entire premise of it is one that I am tired just thinking about. Also major trigger warning for anyone who is a survivor of such an assault: she speaks in explicit detail about the assault itself. Proceed with caution.
What: It's that corn musical.
And? What I kept thinking about during this show is how subjective humor can be. And I kept wondering if I was just in the wrong mood, and that's why the humor in Shucked mostly annoyed me, while a lot of the audience around me was having a good time. I loved Head Over Heels and & Juliet, both very silly shows, but I was bored by the likes of ...One More Time. So here I probably just have to say that this show wasn't for me, but that doesn't actually speak to the competency of the production itself. The score feels a little disjointed: some songs know how to function like musical theater songs; some songs are full pastiche; and some songs function like country songs with a script mashed around them to justify their drop-in, like in a jukebox musical. The absolute failure to find a pure rhyme for Tampa besides grampa, but insisting on increasingly slanted slant rhymes instead is ... a choice. Understudy Traci Elaine Lee is great as ingenue Maizy, Andrew Durand continues his brand of loveable dope with a high belt as Beau, Kevin Cahoon knows how to handle a running joke like a pro, and Alex Newell can wail until the roof shakes (they got a partial standing ovation midshow for that fantastic voice). For me, though, Grey Henson (Storyteller 2) deserves props for his offhand manner of delivering joke after joke, most of them groaners but almost funny anyway in his hands.
|Ashley D. Kelley and Grey Henson as Storyteller 1 and Storyteller 2.|
Photo by Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman.
5/28/23: Summer, 1976
What: MTC presents a new play by David Auburn about two women looking back on the summer when they became close friends, and the time that has passed in the decades since.
And? It's one of those plays that sounds like nothing if you try to talk about it, but the truth is it's the kind of play that sends you into a retrospective of your own life (or at least it does for me), for the friendships that have faded and the ones that have endured. The bright stars whose contact abruptly shuttered or who just slowly dimmed out of sight. One of the women muses that (I paraphrase) "I don't know if I miss her, or if I miss the memory of her." Yeah, it's like that.